PnL (Devi): An EPIC Day in the Life
- 7.00am: First alarm rings. The clock is across the room, I get up sleepily, trudge through the obstacle course that is currently my room (it’s due for a cleaning, I know) and turn it off. I then quickly flop back on my bed.
- 7.15: Second alarm rings. It’s just my cell phone next to me. My alarm system needs help. The idea is that normally I should be up by the first alarm, but just in case I fall back asleep, I have the second alarm telling me “you really have to wake up NOW or you’ll be late.” Unfortunately, even on days that I am reasonably awake I lack the discipline to just wake up after the first alarm, so I always go back to sleep till the second one.
- 7.20: Finally wake up and get out of bed. The first clear thought in my brain is “scissors.” That’s because last night, before going to bed, I got an email reminding me to bring a pair of scissors to school for our blanket making event and I had decided I’ll put them in my backpack in the morning. So I guess the” you’ll remember the last thing you think of before bed” idea is true?
- 7.40: Done with shower and bathroom stuff. I absolutely must shower before stepping out in the morning. I just feel gross if I don’t. Also, I am so much more awake after a shower that the necessity is undeniable.
- 7.48: About to step out the door when EEEEEEK scissors!!!! I rush back upstairs and grab a pair to put in my purse.
- 7.50: Out of the door. I’ve grabbed my to go breakfast – granola bars and am driving to school. The drive from my house to school is 7 minutes. I can usually make it even faster. But TODAY is not a good morning. There’s this truck in front of me that is going painfully slow. The speed limit is 45, and he was going 40 (though to be fair, even if he was going 45 I probably wouldn’t be happy since I go 60 on that road). There was another truck in front of him, and it’s a two lane local road so passing is not an option. My blood pressure is building due to my impatience, so to calm myself I focus on the back of the truck which has to two nuts/bolts that look like eyes and then a random line below them that kind of looks like a mouth. It was smiling at me! I just stared at the smile until I got to school (don’t judge me for my weird imagination, it’s not like I imagined it was a unicorn or something).
- 7.57: Reached school! And I got a wonderful parking spot. YAY! I head straight to class since it’s about to begin. Our current course is Brain, Mind and Behavior. Today we learned about the Diencephalon. Put really simply, it’s a region of your brain, except we learn about it in excruciating detail. Normally we have class daily from 8 to 12, but this week is a bit different in that we only have one hour of class in the morning, which is then followed by three hours of lab.
- 8.50: Done with class, everyone makes their way towards lab. We spend an hour and a half looking at myelin stained parts of the brain on the virtual microscope and then another hour going over the actual brain and spinal cord. I have to say, the human brain is so cool and fascinating! I still don’t want to learn what every freaking bump (gyrus) on it is called (they really do have a name for everything), but it still never ceases to amaze me just how perfectly it is designed. Most of the time we are looking at brains that have already been taken out of the cadavers (in fact, we did that during anatomy last year, they then “fixed” the brain with chemicals and prepared it for this class) but there is one exception on the demo table which is simply amazing in my opinion. That’s because it is a dissection of a man’s face with the skin still on. The skull is removed from the sides, but a small part is left remaining on the top. The face is kept in a jar of all sorts of good saline solution (or whatever preservatives they use) and to take it out of the jar, you lift it up from that thin sagittal slice of skull that is still remaining. So you can see all the dural folds and notches on the inside of the skull, while the face is still there! It’s hard to explain, but it kind of reminds me of the movies, and did I mention it’s awesome? I’ll try to keep the geek talk to a minimum from now, sorry. On a lighter note, I am always so hungry when in lab because I don’t really eat breakfast since I’d rather spend that extra time sleeping. My lab partners were trying to convince me that it doesn’t take that long to eat a bowl of cereal, so I was explaining that it does take quite a while, because first you put it in the microwave and then,—but they didn’t let me finish. Right away they all asked in an incredulous unison “You heat your cereal???!?” Hmph. Of course I do. I don’t like cold milk. It tastes gross. The rest of the time was spent mocking me for my methods and so I’ll spare you all that conversation.
- 11.30: Head to café for lunch with lab group (there are 6 of us). I chose chicken cacciatore with broccoli and cheese. The sauce that the chicken was in was amazing, but the chicken piece itself was big and cut weird and I didn’t know how to approach it. The broccoli is an anomaly for me, but since the TA in lab used it as an analogy to a structure in the brain called flocculus, I decided to eat some in honor of that. That, by the way, is not at all uncommon. Throughout anatomy, many structures of the body were used in analogy with daily food items so that we can remember them better. Some students were grossed out by that and had to stop eating those items for a while (fat in our body looks like egg yolk, I swear …and cheese pizza at times). I personally couldn’t care less.
- 12.00pm: Go to blanket making event. We made several fleece blankets that were then donated to the kids admitted in the children’s hospital nearby.
- 2.00: Finally done with blanket making (I learned a new skill today!) and so I get a study room and sit down to study only to be interrupted by a friend that wanted to vent about her life. Listened till 4 pm when my friend came over to review more brain stuff. Go to lab.
- 5.00: I realize I am also supposed to be at a procedure workshop tonight, but since I haven’t figured out a way to cut myself in half and send one half to each event just yet, I call the head of the workshop and tell her I can’t make it. Head over to school library to discuss our upcoming food throwdown event (it’s loosely based on Iron chef, I think). I agree to ask the nearby Chipotle manager if he will donate a gift card for the event.
- 6.00: Leave school to pick up dinner for the 6:30 event. We had ordered Arabic food. The owner of the place is really friendly and while I was waiting for my order, the Arabic customers there asked me if I was Arabic. Apparently I have one of those faces that can be construed as Middle Eastern or South East Asian.
- 6.45: I know I know. Event was supposed to start at 6:30 but there was traffic! We quickly serve food (spinach/beef pita sandwiches, falafel, baklava etc), and then watch a 90 min documentary of camps around the world that take care of kids with AIDS. The documentary is called Tiny Tears. I thought it was good but should have been a little shorter. After the third country, we get the picture and its just repetition. Plus we try to make all medical school events an hour max because students are busy and antsy about spending more time since they need to study. Since I am extremely involved in many organizations at school, and also in charge of publicity, it makes me mad when an event runs longer because that just means it’s going to be harder to get people to attend the next time
- 8.00: Movie is over. A few friends tease me about how it’s practically bedtime now and they can’t study anymore (since it ran so long). Ha. Ha. A few friends call and ask me to go watch the new movie How to train a dragon with them, but since I’ve gotten essentially nothing productive done all day (study wise), I say no. It’s too bad because Monday nights, the local theatre only charges 5$ and gives free popcorn! What a great deal!
- 9.00: FINALLY leaving school. Ugh. I’ve been here for 13 hours now. Go to friend’s house nearby to borrow some neuroanatomy books needed for this course but I end up staying till 1030 since I am really close to her and her 4 roommates (we go way back) and so whenever we get together, we just end up chatting. Knowing second year medical students is really helpful also because my close friends just let me borrow their book for the course (one course is usually about 7 weeks) and so I save a lot of money that would otherwise go into buying them.
- 10.45: Reach home, completely exhausted. I feel really bad because I got no studying done. For the umpteenth time I tell myself how I need to cut back on the extracurricular or I’m going to fail one day soon (the reason I haven’t yet are the sleepless nights where I play catch up, medical school is not easy, guys). Roommate comes home, we catch up on each other’s day. I go to my room ready to sleep but a few people IM me with some important topics and end up staying up till much later.
- 1.30am: Go to sleep. I have to say, no one sleeps better than a medical student. Insomnia? What is that? I am always so tired and so sleep deprived that as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out. Seriously. Never do I remember even being awake for a few seconds while lying down. I’m out and ready to start the madness again tomorrow.
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